AHCA: CDC Interim Guidance on Rapid Antigen Tests

Lisa Volk and Jackie Pappalardi in Clinical & Quality

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new interim guidance on rapid antigen testing for COVID-19. The key points that members should be aware of include:

  • The two rapid antigen tests on the market (BD Veritor and Quidel Sofia2, which are being sent to all nursing homes by CMS) are currently intended for use in diagnostic testing of symptomatic patients within five days of symptom onset. 
  • Through this new guidance, CDC expands use of these rapid antigen tests to include use as screening tool in congregate settings (such as a nursing home) for staff and residents.
  • All long term care facilities must defer to state or local guidance on their use. If no such guidance exists, you may consider following CDC guidance. 
  • Evaluating the test results must be done in context with the person’s symptoms and how likely COVID-19 is in the group of people getting the tests, which is usually similar to the community’s rate of COVID-19. 
  • Providers who are utilizing these antigen test devices must undergo proper training and be able to demonstrate competency and completion.

It’s very important that providers who are utilizing the point of care antigen test device understand this new CDC guidance. AHCA/NCAL has developed a more comprehensive summary here that members can utilize. 

AHCA/NCAL has also added information on how to access training for both antigen devices (BD Veritor and Quidel Sofia2) to its summary of important steps providers must take in preparing to use these testing devices. 

Additionally, CMS is expected to update the list of nursing homes receiving the point-of-care (POC) antigen tests later today (Thursday, August 20). CMS provides a zip file (an excel file) with the names of all the nursing homes to receive either the Quidel Sophia-2 or BD POC antigen tests. You can also find this list on Data.CMS.gov under the paragraph “Supporting COVID-19 Testing.”

Please email COVID19@ahca.org for additional questions, or visit ahcancal.org/coronavirus for more information.

NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

Lisa Volk, RN, B.P.S., LNHA
Director, Clinical & Quality Services
518-462-4800 x15

Jackie Pappalardi, RN, BSN
Executive Director
518-462-4800 x16